|We told T to give a "moon smile." The|
telescope is to his right, and the moon
is visible over his shoulder.
A Cat's Guide to the Night Sky
Written by Stuart Atkinson
Illustrated by Brendan Kearney
Published October 8, 2018
Why we chose this book:
To learn more about astronomy and know what to look for with a telescope (which we've wanted to borrow from WPL for a while.) Laurence King provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Part informational, part inspirational, and all sensational! A Cat's Guide to the Night Sky is fun and informative for kids and adults.
A cute cat narrating how to stargaze and what to look for immediately sparks the imagination. This cat, inspired by real French cats who went to space, introduces topics that range from what to wear to the history of reading the sky to constellations by season to phases of the moon, with everything an amateur stargazer like myself might imagine, with the Northern Lights and satellites thrown in as well (I wouldn't have thought to look for satellites and I am too far south for the Northern Lights). Each two-page spread is devoted to a different topic, with a basic answer on one page, and more detailed information on the facing page. Fun and informative illustrations accompany all text. The more generalized answer is great for younger kids, and then readers can determine how much more detail they'd like to read. T was less interested in why stars are different colors than he was in comparing the sizes of different colored stars. I, however, was interested in learning about the different types of stars.
I know very little about the night sky, but I love seeing stars and the Milky Way. As a kid, Venus would rise over my best friend's house; her dad pointing it out to us was always incredibly exciting! Since then, and a 6th-grade trip to Catalina Island where we learned the constellations at night, I've been interested in astronomy but have never pursued knowledge. Now, with a little kiddo whose enthusiasm about the world is boundless, we can learn together. Worcester Public Library has a program where you can check out a telescope, which I think is just about the coolest thing. We did that in conjunction with reading this book. You certainly don't need a telescope to look at stars, read this book, or follow the phases of the moon, but it was thrilling for us. We were especially excited to read about "rays" on the moon, because we saw them!
Why I like A Cat's Guide to the Night Sky soooo much is threefold: it covers basic astronomy in a way that is appropriate to a range of ages, it is written with an engaging and entertaining tone, and, because it is so easy to actually put the information to use, it inspires us to look at the night sky. Oh, and we've checked out more night sky books from the library! We need more info on meteors.
This book has sparked stargazing, further reading, telescope use, and what I can only describe as "quality time" with my son and husband. It's an enjoyable read in its own right, but after reading it (or sections of it), it's hard to just stick it on a shelf.
|T's favorite planet is the blue one.|
Mom: What's the best thing about A Cat's Guide?
Son: To the Night Sky!
Mom: Okay. The whole title. What's the best thing? Why?
Son, pointing to winter sky page: This part! The best thing is "extra." Because I like it. I like that it's about snow and winter and I like winter and snow.
(The season pages have "sky extras," such as meteor showers, that you'll see in addition to the constellations during that particular season.)
Mom: What do you want to learn more about? Do you have a specific question?
Son: The sun. Yes. Why do people get burned?
Mom: Because it's soooo hot. Wasn't it so cool to see the moon up close? What did you like about that?
(The heat of the sun is covered in one of the more detailed sections, which is still a bit above T's level right now.)
Son: YEEEES!!! I liked that it was the moon...[I liked] the lines. I liked the moon because it looked kinda like the sun but it just isn't as hot.
(We saw the rays of debris from an impact)
Mom: Is there anything you'd like to look for next time we have the telescope?
Son: That thing is space! It is the sun.
Mom: Oh, we never look at the sun through a telescope. That could make you blind. Is there something else you'd want to look for?
Son: Boulders hitting the Earth! Asteroids!
Mom: What did you think of the cat who told us about the sky?
Son, with a huge grin: Silly!
Mom: When is it a good time to read this book?
Son: When I'm interested in space.
Mom: Who should read it?
Son: Anyone who likes space. D- He likes space.